Monday, July 28, 2014

Lincolnville native comes home to Maine to train for ‘do or die’ UFC bout

Terry Farren
Tim Boetsch (right) blocks a kick from a sparring partner during a workout Saturday at the Team Irish gym in Brewer. Boetsch is training with Marcus Davis for an August UFC fight at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.  Tim Boetsch (right) blocks a kick from a sparring partner during a workout Saturday at the Team Irish gym in Brewer. Boetsch is training with Marcus Davis for an August UFC fight at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Posted July 28, 2014, at 6:44 a.m.
Last modified July 28, 2014, at 7:06 a.m.
Tim Boetsch prepares to train Saturday at the Team Irish Gym in Brewer for his upcoming UFC fight in August at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Terry Farren
Tim Boetsch prepares to train Saturday at the Team Irish Gym in Brewer for his upcoming UFC fight in August at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Mixed martial arts fighter Tim Boetsch holds down a sparring partner during a training session Saturday at the Team Irish gym in Brewer. Boetsch is training with Marcus Davis for an August UFC bout at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Terry Farren
Mixed martial arts fighter Tim Boetsch holds down a sparring partner during a training session Saturday at the Team Irish gym in Brewer. Boetsch is training with Marcus Davis for an August UFC bout at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Marcus Davis (right) trains Tim Boetsch in the cage Saturday at the Team Irish gym in Brewer for Boetsch's upcoming UFC fight in August at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Terry Farren
Marcus Davis (right) trains Tim Boetsch in the cage Saturday at the Team Irish gym in Brewer for Boetsch's upcoming UFC fight in August at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Tim Boetsch knew his telephone would ring soon, though he wasn’t sure he wanted to answer it.
The veteran Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor had just lost by first-round submission to Luke Rockhold at UFC 172 in late April, and only a controversial split-decision victory over C.B. Dollaway in his previous bout separated the Lincolnville native from a four-fight losing streak.
And in the UFC, one win in four fights is grounds for considerable career uncertainty.
“I knew I’d get a phone call, but I didn’t know if it would be a good or bad one,” said Boetsch, who previously was released from the world’s top mixed martial arts promotion in 2009 only to be re-signed a year later after a three-fight winning streak.
Little did the UFC’s 14th-ranked middleweight know that when the phone rang two days after the Rockhold fight, not only was it a call worth answering, but with it came an unexpected bonus.
First, the 33-year-old Boetsch learned he still had a job in the UFC. Then he found out he was being penciled in to fight in his native state — against Brad Tavares on Aug. 16 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor as part of UFC Fight Night 47.
“I had made up in my mind that the call I was going to get was going to be a bad one to prepare myself mentally,” admitted Boetsch, 17-7 since turning professional in October 2006. “So to get the call to have another fight and have it be in my home state was a huge relief and definitely a great feeling. I’m going to take advantage of it for sure.”
Perhaps Boetsch’s potential as a selling point for the UFC’s initial foray into small-market Maine — company president Dana White is a 1987 Hermon High School graduate who has relatives in the area and a home in Levant — contributed to the good-news phone call.
But Boetsch sees it merely as a new opportunity to advance his own MMA career as well as providing a boost to a sport that was legalized in Maine just five years ago.
“I had always hoped I’d have a fight close to home,” he said, “but I never imagined actually fighting 45 minutes from where I grew up.”
Not only is he fighting close to home — Boetsch was a four-time state wrestling champion at Camden-Rockport High School before going on to earn All-American honors at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania — he’s also training in the area under former UFC contender Marcus Davis at Davis’ Team Irish MMA Fitness Academy in Brewer.
“As soon as I heard I was fighting up in Bangor, my mind immediately went to Marcus’ camp,” said Boetsch, who began his workouts in Maine last week. “I’ve trained with him in the past, we get along really well, he’s a great coach, and our styles line up well.
“Marcus spent a very long time in the UFC, so he understands how it works and everything it takes to be successful there. I think it’s a great opportunity for both of us, and because of his lengthy career in the UFC, to get him involved again and have him in my corner is going to be very advantageous for this fight.”
It’s also a transcontinental shift in training strategies for Boetsch, who lives in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, with wife, Jade, and three children (sons Christian, 6, and Benson, 1½, and 3-year-old daughter Finley). He had held previous training camps under highly regarded MMA coach Matt Hume at AMC Pankration in Seattle.
“I’ve always wanted the opportunity to get home and see my folks more and spend more time in Maine, but training out in Seattle eliminated a lot of time away from my family even in Pennsylvania,” said Boetsch, who will stay with his parents Greg and Janice and commute to Davis’ gym until fight week. “To get the opportunity to be back home in Maine and train for a fight just makes the most sense out of everything I’ve done. I’m glad it worked out this way.”
That shift won’t be without adjustments.
“Certainly getting adjusted to new training partners and the training schedule will be a little different,” he said, “but it’s certainly something I’m able to adapt to so I can make sure that we get to fight week totally prepared.
“But I never really backed off since the last fight, I’ve just kept the ball rolling. I was uninjured from my last fight but very disappointed in how that one went, so training camp hasn’t really stopped for me since my preparation for the last fight. I really feel like I’m the most ready I’ve ever been coming into this fight.”
The change in training regimens will be philosophical as well as geographic for the fighter known as “The Barbarian.”
“Marcus embraces my raw style of fighting more than what I got in Seattle,” Boetsch said. “He appreciates the brutality that is my style of fighting, and his knowledge of boxing and the striking game and the way he works pads with me is a little different than what I’ve done in the past.
“Matt Hume is probably the most technically minded coach in the sport, and while I have an appreciation for technical ability, and certainly that’s something you need, there’s no substitute for that brute force end of things, imposing your will on somebody and just being mean.”
Boetsch sees being true to his nickname as pivotal to reinvigorating a career that saw him emerge as a UFC middleweight contender two years ago thanks to a four-fight win streak highlighted by victories over Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard.
“I think I lost some of that meanness over the last couple of years, so I’m definitely embracing that again,” he said. “Honestly, I was thinking too much. Knowing all those techniques and going in there with a 15-step game plan is good for some people, but for me I think the less I think about it the better — just get in there and do it.
“My wife has been telling me that for a long time, and finally I listened to the voice of reason,” he said.
He hopes that attention to aggression and a productive training camp will help make the difference in what he anticipates will be a challenging bout against Tavares, a native Hawaiian who will have a 2-inch height advantage over the 5-foot-11-inch Boetsch.
Boetsch sees the stakes involved with his return to Maine as much more than a single stop along the professional trail.
“This fight is do or die, this is the one to keep my career moving along or this one could pack me up and send me on my way,” he said. “I don’t want to do that in front of the hometown crowd.”
A win over Tavares also could result in Boetsch making Maine a more permanent training camp base.
“Certainly if I win this fight, my career is going to keep going, and I think Marcus being part of that would also continue because of the fact I want to get home more often, spend time in Maine with my family and get the family I have in Pennsylvania up here more to spend time with their grandparents, my parents,” he said.
“It just makes sense because really the biggest sacrifice I’ve made over six years of training in Seattle is the time away from family, and my kids are getting to be the age where they really need dad at home or to be in the picture at least. I can’t keep leaving for two months for training camps, so I think making Marcus’ camp a big part of what I do is a very good move career-wise and family-wise.”
For this fight, Boetsch said his wife and children will come to Maine the week of the bout, though they will stay with his parents while he stays closer to the fight venue.
“It’s not exactly a family vacation,” he said.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Jett Gould courtesy of Coach John GardnerFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (July 18, 2014) – New England Fights Mixed Martial Arts (NEF MMA), the Northeast’s premier mixed martial arts promotion, today announced that the company had awarded a scholarship to a local athlete to attend the 2014 “Brawlin’ Lobsta Wrestling Camp” hosted by the University of Southern Maine (USM).  This year’s camp is scheduled to be held at USM’s Gorham campus from July 22nd through July 25th.  Earlier this summer, NEF MMA announced that the promotion would choose one Maine athlete to sponsor through the camp.  After reviewing dozens of entries, Jett Gould, a 13 year-old Mount Ararat Middle School student in Topsham, Maine, was chosen as the recipient of the sponsorship, and NEF MMA will pay his tuition to the camp this summer.
“This is an example of our promotion’s dedication to the Maine community,” stated NEF MMA co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson.  “The Maine wrestling scene has produced so many great MMA fighters.  Who knows what the future holds?  The next ‘Mike Brown’ could very well be in the system right now.  We’ll never know until we find him or her.”
Mike Thomas Brown, or “MTB,” (26-9) won a state wrestling championship in 1992 for Bonny Eagle High School in Standish, Maine.  He went on to win the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) featherweight championship and currently competes for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).  Brown can often be found cage-side as a guest of honor at NEF MMA events.  NEF MMA regulars like Jesse Peterson (7-4) and John Raio (2-5) have also won state wrestling championships in Maine.  Countless others on the fight promotion’s roster have competed in the state’s wrestling program.
This past year, Jett Gould rose from a junior varsity wrestler to co-captain of the varsity team.  He received the “Most Improved Wrestler” award.  Like many wrestlers whose hard work and dedication translate into other areas, Jett is a scholastic standout as well, finishing the school year as a member of the honor roll.  In addition, Jett trains in MMA at John’s Raio’s First Class Fitness and MMA gym located in Brunswick, Maine.
“I am dedicated to the sport, and I train any opportunity that I get at First Class MMA with coaches John Raio and John Gardner,” said Jett when reached for comment.
According to Jett’s coach, John Raio, “Jett represents everything we want our gym to be at a very young age.  Many of the younger children at our school look up to him and aspire to be more like him.  I have not seen a more dedicated young man who is willing and motivated to learn and we are thankful to have him.  I see Jett progress in every component of MMA on a weekly basis.  He balances school, family and MMA classes. In addition to his love for the mixed martial arts, he also enjoys hunting with his father Chris.  He treats his parents and younger brother with respect and appreciation. In the event that he steps into the NEF cage in the future, I know that he will train harder than anyone else and compete with sportsmanship.”
NEF MMA’s next event, “NEF XIV,” is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 6, 2014 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine with a bell time of 7:00 pm.  In the main event of the evening, Tim “The Maine-iac” Sylvia (31-9) returns to Maine to face fellow UFC veteran Christian Morecraft (8-3) for the Super-Heavyweight Title.  Featherweight Champion Ray “All Business” Wood (4-0) returns from injury after a year of recovery against Brazil’s Gabriel Baino (6-1).  Bantamweight Champion Paul Gorman (10-8) defends against Tim “The Terror” Goodwin (8-4).  Plus, Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington (6-7) and Jesse “The Viking” Erickson (3-2) will meet for the Lightweight Title, Ryan Sanders (6-5) faces Ryan Quinn (10-4-1), and John “First Class” Raio (2-5) competes in his final fight.
Tickets for “NEF XIV” start at just $25 and are on sale now or by calling The Colisee box office at 207.783.2009 x 525.  For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at In addition, you can watch NEF MMA videos at, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”
About New England Fights
New England Fights Mixed Martial Arts (“NEF MMA”) is a Mixed Martial Arts promotions company. NEF MMA’s mission is to create the highest quality events for Maine’s fighters and fans alike. NEF MMA’s executive team has extensive experience in combat sports management, events production, media relations, marketing, legal and advertising.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

NFHS High School Wrestling Rules Changes Approved for 2014-15

High school wrestling rules changes focused on changes in the definition of bad time and advancement of wrestlers in the consolation bracket.

Changes to Rules 5-1-1 and 10-2-9 were recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Wrestling Rules Committee at its April 14-16 meeting in Indianapolis. The committee’s recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors. 

In addition to previous language in Rule 5-1-1, the committee agreed that bad time is wrestled with the wrestlers in the wrong position or the wrong wrestler being given choice of position “at the start of the second 30-second tiebreaker” and “at the start of the ultimate tiebreaker.”

The previous definition did not include situations where the wrong wrestler was given choice of position at the start of the second 30-second tiebreaker or the start of the ultimate tiebreaker. 

Rule 10-2-9 previously addressed the protocol when two wrestlers in the championship bracket simultaneously could not continue the match but did not address a plan for advancement to the consolation bracket when points had been scored in the match. 

The additional language will state that if the match is tied at the time of termination, the wrestler who scored the first point(s) in the match (first three periods, or first or second 30-second tiebreaker) will continue in the consolation bracket. If no points were scored, neither wrestler will continue. 

“I am very proud of the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee’s work,” said Alan Beste, chair of the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee and assistant executive director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association. “Oftentimes, people think successful committee meetings are only accomplished when numerous changes are made. This year, the rules committee reviewed many aspects of the high school wrestling program and determined there was no need for a large number of rules changes. We will continue to monitor the annual NFHS wrestling rules questionnaire sent to state associations, coaches and referees to determine the need for future changes.”

Wrestling is the sixth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 270,163 participants in 10,488 schools during the 2012-13 season, according to the NFHS Athletics Participation Survey. In addition, 8,727 girls were involved in wrestling in 1,602 high schools.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Maine wrestlers top new friends from Nebraska

It’s the first home match win in the series’ 30-year history.

SOUTH BERWICK — The lobsters had been cracked and consumed. The ocean sites reached and recorded. New friendships made and a few old ones rekindled.
Tuesday was the last night of the 30th Maine-Nebraska Friendship Series among high school wrestlers from both states and the all-star group of Mainers assembled at Marshwood High School had one goal – win for the first time at home.
“Any time you step on the mat it’s about winning,” said Colin Sevigney, a recent graduate of Wells High. “Especially in our home state it would be kind of nice to show we’re pretty tough, too.”
It turned out the Mainers pulled it off in dominating fashion, winning the first 12 matches en route to a 53-6 outcome.

“It feels good to be part of something like that,” said Marshwood three-time state champion Cody Hughes.

The Maine team, organized by Marshwood Coach Matt Rix, featured 12 state champions from eight schools.

Rix said Maine has won a couple of dual meets in Nebraska but never in Maine.

Nebraska’s success is understandable. The state has roughly four times as many high school wrestling programs as Maine. Nebraska Coach Tracy Dodson said the state championships routinely draw over 10,000 people to Omaha. Plus, at the college level, the state fields one Division I (University of Nebraska), two Division II and multiple small-college wrestling programs.

Dodson, who coaches at Columbus Scotus High, said he had been hearing during his team’s trip that the last of the four matches would be the toughest.
He and assistant coach Derek Garfield also said they had purposely selected a relatively young team, thinking the trip would be good motivation.
“We don’t have a state champion on this team but I’m sure we have kids on this team that will be state champions,” Garfield said.

Nebraska had won its other dual meets in Skowhegan (37-27), Dover-Foxcroft (62-6) and Ellsworth (64-18) in an eight-day stay.

Dodson’s son, Marcus, was among Nebraska’s most experienced wrestlers, finishing as the state runner-up at 152 pounds.

He had a tough 6-0 loss against Hughes. Both were among the dozen or so sleepover guests at Marshwood wrestler Jackson Howarth’s house Monday.
“We were here tonight just to have fun and all feeling kind of ready to go home,” Marcus Dodson said. “The guys from Maine, you could tell, they came to play.”
Marcus Dodson said he’ll remember kayaking on three ponds more than a tough match.

“Well, they said they were ponds but they were massive bodies of water compared to our lakes,” he said.

In addition to camping, days on a lake, two lobster bakes and Tuesday afternoon’s trip to the beach, the Nebraska side also toured the state house and had a photo-op session with the governor.

“It’s the relationships that we’ve made that we’re really interested in,” Tracy Dodson said.

Wally LaFountain, a longtime coach at Winslow, had just that in mind when he and a peer in Nebraska came up with the idea of the series as an alternative to more expensive international exchanges.

“The wrestling on the mats is just the excuse because it really is a cultural exchange,” said LaFountain.

Nebraska heavyweight Andrew Stowe, who claimed a rare Cornhusker win Tuesday with an explosive 11-0 decision against Massabesic’s Jordan Drain, agreed.

Sure, trying clams (tastes good, bad texture) and lobster (claws over tail) were great but that wasn't what really impressed him.

“The trip was great and all the scenery was pretty interesting but ultimately what made it smooth and enjoyable were all the host families being so generous,” Stowe said.

The exchange had happened annually until 2013 when it was canceled. LaFountain, who has stayed actively involved with the program, said it was revitalized when Bob Craig of Skowhegan, the father of state champions Tyler and Cody Craig, took over as the Maine director. LaFountain also credited coaches like Rix and Skowhegan’s Brooks Thompson for helping to make sure this year’s Nebraska team would be greeted by willing and able wrestlers.
Winning matches for Maine on Tuesday: Kidayer Aljubyly of Portland, Austin Shorey and Otto Keisker of Noble, Caleb Austin of Mountain Valley, Tyler Everett of Massabesic, Colin Sevigney and Michael Curtis of Wells, Julian Sirois of Skowhegan, Dominic Day of Biddeford and the Marshwood foursome of Hughes, Howarth (two wins), Bradley Beaulieu and Brett Gerry.